Following concerns raised over a number years about car parking in Reepham, the problems were discussed in depth at a meeting on 3 July of the Town Team, an informal group consisting of representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the Town Council, the churches and local community groups, backed by Broadland District Council.
As a consequence of changing employment and shopping patterns it was recognised that the existing parking facilities are becoming inadequate.
The free Station Road car park has spaces for 58 vehicles, but is often full during the day, especially on weekdays.
The Market Place, between Ollands Road and Townsend Corner, has space for 50-60 vehicles, many being limited to 90 minutes between 8 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday. Although there is normally a steady turnover of vehicles, congestion can arise, especially during the Wednesday market period.
Stimpson’s Piece recreation ground, located off Station Road, has around 50 spaces and offers free parking. Although the car park here has recently been resurfaced, concerns have been raised about the lack of lighting in the area.
Currently, there is an absence of designated disabled parking in Reepham and minimal provision for bicycle parking. There is also no provision for parking/recharging electric vehicles in the town.
Various options to improve the situation were discussed at the Town Team meeting, including “Park and Stride” – encouraging drivers to park outside the town centre and walk the last few metres, encouraging cycling to eliminate unnecessary car journeys, improving public transport, introducing car-share schemes particularly among people working in Reepham, improving signage to the existing car parks to encourage drivers to use an alternative site during peak periods, “walking buses” of junior age school children walking to school in groups under the supervision of parents, changes to current car parking restrictions and the introduction of car parking charges.
During the discussion it became apparent that some of the options would be inappropriate for a small market town in a largely rural area. For example, it is unlikely that significant improvements could be made to public transport in the foreseeable future.
Similarly, although there are signs that some people are commuting to Reepham by bicycle, it is unlikely that the numbers of cycling commuters will increase significantly.
It was suggested that, in the short term, better information on car parking facilities in the town might be provided, including improved signage directing drivers, especially visitors, to the available car parks.
It was also suggested that the Station Road car park might be designated a short-stay car park and that Stimpson’s Piece might be designated a long-stay car park.
Inevitably, this will have to be a multi-agency project involving Norfolk County Council, Broadland District Council, Reepham Town Council acting in its capacity as trustee of Stimpson’s Piece, and other local business and community groups.
As a first step, a joint meeting to discuss the location of suitable signage will be held before any final decision is made.
If anybody has any comments or suggestions regarding improving parking in Reepham, please contact any town councillor, the district or county councillor, or the town clerk.
Town Council changes
It is with regret that we recently received Janet and Michael Pender-Cudlip’s resignations from the Town Council. They have both been councillors since May 2015 and have been a considerable asset to the community and to the Council.
In particular they have played a significant role in recording and protecting local rights of way, footpaths and Marriott’s Way. We would like to thank them for their service to the community and to the Council over the years.
This means we now have two more vacancies on the Council and we welcome volunteers who would be prepared to donate a few hours every month to support our community.
If you have concerns about car parking, proposals for large-scale developments or large-scale infrastructure changes that will take place in the near future, please contact any of town councillor or the town clerk.
The next scheduled meetings are:
- Town Hall Management Committee – Wednesday 5 September;
- Town Council – Wednesday 12 September, followed by Stimpson’s Piece trustee meeting.
All meetings are held in the Town Hall, Church Street, commencing at 7.30 pm.
Contact: Reepham Town Council, Town Hall, Church Street, Reepham, Norfolk NR10 4JW. Tel: 01603 873355. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org